Indirect Cost Recovery

Grant Services & Analysis
Mar 23, 2018 12:00 pm

The Medical School's expectations regarding the recovery of indirect costs from Federal, Industry/For-Profit, and Non-Profit sponsors.

  • Overview

    The following describes the Medical School's expectations regarding the recovery of indirect costs (also referred to as IDC, F&A, Facility and Administrative, and overhead costs). Note, while the rates below outline what we are willing to accept from sponsors without exception needed, it is also to be used as a guideline on the offer to other entities that you contract.


    All projects to Federal sponsors are expected to recover the full, federally negotiated rate for the specific type of project. We recognize that specific programs (e.g. K, F, and T activity codes) have a mandated published rate that is applicable to all applicants. 


    Industry sponsors are expected to follow the same guidelines as Federal sponsors. In cases of a published, competitive announcement in which all applicants are held to the same published rate, the Medical School will accept. 

    Foundations & Non-Profits

    The Medical School will accept a Non-Profit’s standard published rate as long as it is accessible in the terms and conditions, guidelines, and/or entity by-laws. If there is no published rate, it is expected that a minimum rate of 20% will be used. Higher education and academic medical centers are collectively treated as non-profits.


    1. The Medical School does NOT accept emails, phone calls, letters, or other announcements as indication of a lower than standard rate. In special circumstances, when sponsors are silent on the issue, conversations may be started with the Grant Services & Analysis Office on the appropriateness of using an historical rate prior to budgeting. 
    2. In cases where the sponsor is silent or clarification on a rate is needed, only the Grant Services & Analysis Office is authorized to engage a sponsor for further information and clarity.   This is to ensure consistency of request and interpretation.  Please contact the Grant Services & Analysis Office (msgrants@umich.edu) for assistance.
    3. The rate is assumed to be as % of total costs unless the sponsor specifically refers to the rate as “% of direct costs” (on the instructions, form pages, budget, etc). e.g., Sponsor lists maximum costs as $300,000 and states “up to 10% may be used for indirect cost recovery”.  $300,000 * 10% = $30,000 for indirects. 
  • Standard Exceptions

    Clinical Trial Site Activity (class code 31200) applies to human clinical trials where the protocol is authored by the sponsor. The Indirect Cost Recovery rate for Other Sponsored Activity (OSA) is used for this type of activity.

    • As clarification under the contract scope of work, if the U-M investigator works with the sponsor on protocol development or has additional responsibilities beyond performing the protocol, the project should be coded as research. If protocol development had been done as an independent contractor under a separate agreement, Clinical Trial Site Activity may still be appropriate for the clinical trial.

    In the case of industry-sponsored, U-M investigator-initiated interventional clinical trials where the protocol is created and held by U-M, the on-campus research class code should be used, but a reduced Indirect Cost Recovery rate for OSA will be accepted. This is current policy and subject to regular review. 

    The Medical School waives Indirect Cost Recovery on Phase I SBIR/STTR projects. This is a standard waiver that does not require a waiver request, and is only for Phase I.  

  • Additional Information

    All decisions on final use of non-standard rates will be made in conjunction with the administrative home department. 

    In all cases, the Federal rate is the maximum rate that can be recovered. This is important to remember in situations when there is a sponsor that allows a higher rate. For example, if submitting an Other Sponsored Activity (OSA) project to a Foundation which allows 40%, the negotiated rate for OSA needs to be used, not 40%. 

    If the standard expected rate is not used, a waiver should be requested prior to routing a PAF. Please see the Grants Office website for more information. 

Topic: Indirect Cost

Contact us at msgrants@umich.edu or 734-763-4272 / (Fax 734-615-9458)

2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC Building 520, Room 3174, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

A list of Grant Services & Analysis staff is available in the Personnel Directory.

Edited By: mhayward@umich.edu
Last Updated: December 3, 2018 8:00 AM